Soundcheck: Mastodon & Paul Simon

Paul Simon.

Whether you're a metalhead or a folkster, music enthusiasts of all varieties will have something to choose from this week. From Mastodon's thrash-tastic voyage to old favorites John Cougar and Paul Simon, it's a busy week of jams for the Indy area. If you're lucky, you might spot our editors tearing it up at Friday's Bollywood Bhangra at the Amber Room.


Jon McLaughlin

An Anderson, Ind., native, Jon McLaughlin returns to his roots to perform at The Vogue. This pop-rock singer/songwriter and piano player studied music at Anderson University and first stepped out onto the music scene in 2003 with an independent album titled Up Until Now. In 2008, he released the popular song "Beating My Heart" which is featured on the album OK Now.

Hip-Hop Producers and Performers Showcase

A collection of Indianapolis hip-hop heavy-hitters will be performing tonight at a showcase presented by Bringing Down the Band.


Since their first album in 2002, Mastodon has collected quite the group of metal-loving fans. They bring their show back to Indianapolis on tonight to play at The Vogue. See our feature on Mastodon for more.

Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo

This Madison WI-based blues power trio has only been playing together for a few years, but they tour fairly constantly all around the state of Wisconsin. They're nominated for a Grammy for both Blues Album of the Year and and Best New Artist. This isn't the first time they're been honored with an important award: they won Best New Artist at the Madison Area Music Awards and Blues Artist of the Year by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry.


Panjabi MC

Cultural Cannibals present a special edition of Bollywood Bhangra featuring Panjabi MC and DJ Kyle Long at the Amber Room at the Old National Centre. Panjabi MC is the biggest artist on the international bhangra scene and producer of the chart-topping hit "Mundian to Bach Ke (Beware of the Boys)" featuring Jay-Z. In addition to widespread popularity, Panjabi MC has been the recipient of many world music awards. Panjabi MC will be joined by DJ Rekha and DJ Kyle Long, who will be spinning all the latest Bollywood and Bhangra hits. See our feature on Panjabi for more.

Big Head Todd, John Hiatt

Big Head Todd has been touring since 1986; their latest album, 100 Years of Robert Johnson, was recorded with the same members under a different group name: Big Head Blues Club. The album was accompanied by B.B. King, Cedric Burnside, Hubert Sumlin and others. They're accompanied at this show by John Hiatt, a singer-songwriter who got his start the old-fashioned way: by moving to Nashville. In the late '80s, nine straight studio albums hit the Billboard 200 list. The show is part of WTTS 92.3 FM's Rock to Read concert series.

Tonic Ball

Tonic Ball, which began in 2002, is a fundraising event for Second Helpings. Each band that performs is asked to cover songs from popular artists; this year the artists are David Bowie, Michael Jackson and R.E.M. The event will take place at both Radio Radio, the White Rabbit Cabaret and Fountain Square Theatre. See our cover story on Tonic Ball for more.


John Mellencamp

The Coug is back in town - er, he never really left (Mellencamp is a long-time Bloomington resident). Between his musical creations, acting career, and political activism, a lot can be said about Mellencamp's long career, but we'll leave you with this: he is currently working on a musical with Steven King called The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, premiering in the spring of 2012. Early reviews indicate it will be an interesting show, with Esquire reporting, “It may be the first musical ever written by men for men.”

Laura K Balke

Singer-songwriter Laura Balke will be celebrating the release of her latest record, Rumors & Legends, with a performance with a full band and art show. She's influenced by John Vanderslice and Neil Young and will be joined by special guest Jascha and NM Kjeldsen. Balke is on a short tour across the Midwest; this record is her fifth release.

Slothpop and Guests

Slothpop has tremendous upward momentum. This hometown band will headline a show at the White Rabbit Cabaret with a variety of other out-of-town bands, including Philadelphia's Arrah and the Ferns, Chicago's The Embraceables, and Bloomington's Chandelier Ballroom. As our own Greg Winget wrote earlier this year, “The album is earnest, dense and relentlessly catchy, defined by the lilting power of Newborn's voice, Dan Zender's flowing guitar melodies and the band's impeccable, magnetic songwriting.”


Paul Simon

I love Paul Simon so much that I can barely write this preview (I think I love him too much). But here it goes: don't miss your chance to see the legendary singer-songwriter in Bloomington this weekend. Simon is the recipient of 13 Grammys, was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and in 2007 was the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He has released hit after hit after massive hit, including five number one albums. This living legend is touring in support of his latest, So Beautiful or So What, but promises to sample tracks from his illustrious discography.


Kyle Long pens A Cultural Manifesto for NUVO Newsweekly and in 2014 began broadcasting a version of his column on WFYI.